In this blog post, our Equalities Ambassador Luke Padfield writes about a new research project looking at the possible incorporation of the International Covenant on Economic and Social Rights into domestic law.

The Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has recently announced that they are undertaking a new piece of research on the Incorporation of International Human Rights Standards. The call comes at a particularly crucial time as the details of the effects of Brexit on rights in Edinburgh start to become clearer.

One concern, among many, is that Article 35 of the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights (CFR), the Right to Health Care, will no longer be applicable post-brexit. Article 35 of the CFR states that, “Everyone has the right of access to preventive health care and the right to benefit from medical treatment under the conditions established by national laws and practices. A high level of human health protection shall be ensured in the definition and implementation of all the Union’s policies and activities.”

While it is true that Brexit will not affect our continued enjoyment of rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), incorporated with the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA), the right to health is not expressly articulated in either of these documents.[i]

The SHRC research proposal focuses on the possibility of incorporating the International Covenant on Economic and Social Rights (ICESR) into Scots law. Article 12 of the ICESR articulates the right to health and calls upon state parties to recognise, “the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health”. The SHRC has scheduled a workshop in March 2018 to discuss the issue further.



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